Sleeve underarm and chest too tight

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I have made jackets from patterns before but the current project I am
working on is not going well.  I took measurements of myself with the help
of a friend and then proceeded to cut out a muslin and sewed it together
this afternoon.  When I put it on the underarms are too tight.  I do not
know how to fix this.

I already cut the pattern pieces out so I can't go back and make the
shoulder section a size bigger.  How do I increase the size of the arm
hole without creating problems when I go to set in the sleeves?

Also, the slit in the center back stays open when I am relaxed.  Is there
an easy fix for this?  Do I need to draft up a new muslin?  I hope to be
able to alter the muslin so I can make additions to the pattern.  Then I
will start on my nicer fabric.

I have put a number of jackets together and am in the process of
attempting to improve my skill level.  Before I just accepted what the
pattern gave me.  Now I want to try to make the jacket fit right.

Thank you in advance for your help.

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Re: Sleeve underarm and chest too tight
Did you clip the sleeve seam allowance?  That is usually what I haven't
done, when that happens.
Barbara in SC

Re: Sleeve underarm and chest too tight
inneedofsewinghelp wrote:
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From everything you have written, it sounds like you have
chosen too small a pattern.  It's also possible that the
pattern is poorly drafted, it's rare but it does happen.
Another possibility is that the style is not right for your
body type.  What pattern are you using?

Unless you are quite skilled at altering patterns I would
not advise you to attempt an alteration to an armscye and
sleeve head for a set in sleeve.

When you say, "... I took measurements of myself with the
help of a friend and then proceeded to cut out a muslin ..."
it's not clear how you used those measurements.  Did you use
your measurements to select the correct pattern size, based
on the body measurement chart provided by the pattern
company, or did you use those measurements to measure
pattern pieces?  Commercial patterns have built in ease (of
anything from 1 to 5 inches) in order to fit the human body,
you cannot make a garment to exact body measurements.

If the armhole is too small, the chest too tight and the
back vent gapes open, that is all a pretty good indication
with a new pattern, it will be cheaper than cutting your
good fabric too small.

Re: Sleeve underarm and chest too tight
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If this were the only problem, I'd suggest considering tracing the next size
armscye and sleeve or perhaps being able to get away with sewing the armscye
with a larger seam allowance.  However, the slit pulling open when you're
relaxed makes me think the jacket really is too small for you.

Do you have a commercial jacket that fits?  Can you measure and compare with
the pattern you're using?

One last thing to check... are you sewing with the correct seam allowance?


Re: Sleeve underarm and chest too tight
Your pattern is too small.  The armhole is the hardest part of a
pattern to alter, because it requires altering the sleeve as well,
which is not an amateur alteration.  Since the chest is too tight, and
it splays open in the back, it sounds like it is definitely too
small.  I think you must have bought a pattern based on RTW
measurements, rather than what the pattern says.  Disregard the sizes
listed on a pattern; go by the actual measurements to get the correct
size.  It's always easier to take in than to let out, and you can do
this in your muslin by pinching out and pinning, or slashing and
spreading where needed.  Then, use your muslin as the new pattern.
Just make sure that you write right on the muslin the grainlines, odd
pieces that may be mis-identified when taking it apart.  Oh yes, and
when you make a muslin, use a basting stitch to put it together, so
that it's easy to rip apart when you're finished.  You can then
carefully press the pieces without distorting them, and use them for
your pattern.


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